This morning started off like any other – I woke up, had a cup of coffee, browsed some of my favorite blogs, responded to some emails and worked on reviewing some material from last year. When I decided that a change in scenery was in order, I moved to my local Starbucks location. As I waited in line to be greeted by the familiar baristas, I felt my phone buzz indicating a new email. I looked at the subject: “USMLE Step 1 Scheduling Permit” and felt my cortisol levels spike. This was the official start to my journey through the USMLE Step 1.
Throughout winter break I tried to prepare myself mentally for the massive hurdle that was on the horizon. First, I mapped out a tentative outline for the different subject matters I wanted to review each week once the winter semester started. Then, I looked at the six weeks we had off in the spring for dedicated study time and decided on a breakdown of how each day would go. I also selected a couple dates I wanted to take the exam on (also taking into account my travel plans to Hawaii immediately after the exam). From there, I waited until this day arrived when I would officially schedule my appointment at the Prometric Center.
The process seemed a bit too easy. As I moved through the menus, a flashback to when I signed up for my MCAT appointment appeared in my mind. It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was cramming the basic sciences at a coffee shop in preparation for my big day. Somehow, almost 3 years have elapsed since taking my MCAT (I still remember the date – January 30, 2010) and I am facing the next chapter of my medical training with my Step 1 examination only 4 short months away.
After confirming a location and a test date (the one I wanted was available!), I clicked “Submit” and my receipt and confirmation appeared. I sat back in my chair and tried to take deep breaths. Although I still had time, I couldn’t believe just how quickly I went from just starting medical school in early August of 2011 to starting to prepare myself for one of the most important examinations of my career. It seems like just yesterday that I was struggling to figure out how to study or trying to find the energy to get through an entire day of classes. Now, I am sufficiently addicted to coffee (I need at least 16 oz. in the morning in order to actually get the gears turning in my brain) and feeling apprehensive but motivated to scale this hurdle. I know that I have a tough couple of months ahead of me, but in order to get from the top of one mountain to the top of the next, you have to go down first in order to climb up the next. Wish me luck moving forward!
Have you scheduled your Step 1 exam date yet?
Read more experiences from current medical students. Subscribe to our blog!
All of the opinions expressed here are the author’s and hers alone, and do not represent necessarily those of Kaplan or its employees.